While we have to live with the fact that beauty pageant in Nigeria has come to stay, we also have to look at the impact of such a platform in shaping the Nigerian woman and the country at large.
Over time, Beauty pageant in Nigeria has evolved into an” industry” as unbelievable number of such media spring up every day with thousands of young, talented and beautiful women ready to be a part of those platforms.
The question still remains, how much impact does pageantry have on re-branding the young Nigerian woman to become more in all she does?
‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ (MBGN) is currently the biggest pageantry platform in the country which has produced more than 30 winners since its inception in 1986.
Under the MBGN platform, brilliant Nigerian women have gained recognition on the world stage; Lynda Chuba, became the first Nigerian to be crowned, ‘Miss Africa’ in 1987, In 1989, Omasan Buwa became a Semi-finalist in Miss Intercontinental, Sabina Umeh from Niger State won Miss Personality in Miss World 1990, Toyin Raji also emerged winner, Miss Congeniality in Miss Universe 1995 and the biggest bang happened in 2001 when Agbani Darego from Rivers State was listed among the Top 10 in Miss Universe in 2001 and emerged as the Grand winner of Miss World.
Winners from this platform are expected to ” traditionally adopt at least one platform (also known as ‘pet project’) during their reign – an issue which is of relevance to Nigeria. Once chosen, the winner (and occasionally other finalists) uses their status to address the public about their platform.
The most popular has been Sickle cell Awareness, but others have included Polio, Child labour, Education, and Widow Empowerment.”
Again, I ask, how has this platform helped better the Nigerian woman? What happens after their tenures as queens end? Which of such pets projects is still functional?
Should we talk about how some of these girls are being sexually and financially exploited by the organizers or sponsors of this event? What become of these girls years after winning? How many winners are really impacting the society positively today?